The first time I volunteered was at WordCamp US 2016. I will confess it wasn’t 100% altruistic, I had other motivations. I had decided in 2015 after my grandmother’s passing that I would go back to tech, my first love. After going through several self study courses and an online bootcamp I had set up my reward, to go to my first WordCamp! More confessions! I did not think I was ready to attend one of these events or even belong there.
I chose that one after seeing a lovely podcast from the folks at Elegant Themes, the makers of the Divi Theme, a Super-Theme that allows you to build small to medium sites really fast. The team had just come from WordCamp Orange County and were looking forward to the upcoming WordCamp US. So I got excited too! It would be in Philadelphia, a bit of a commute for me, but it was something I wanted to do.
Unfortunately, my nature is to be shy, so I saw the writing on the wall. I’d go and be either by myself in a corner somewhere and not talk to anyone, or worse, stay in my lovely hotel room enjoying room service.
When the email came asking for volunteers I jumped at the opportunity. At least I’d have something to do that kept me there and I would have some familiar faces to see during the event.
It took some time to get the email saying I was accepted but I was very happy when it arrived. Later I found I would be assigned to the Registration desk. It meant I would see all the lovely faces of the attendees as they came in for some WordPress magic!
The night before the event started, we had a Volunteers dinner. I was there by myself so I had to randomly introduce myself to people. I could go into so much detail but the important point was, I felt I belonged! There were so many different people at the event, the talks were wonderful and I had the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I met some lovely people, Carol, Sabina, Elizabeth among others.
After that I volunteered to WordCamp EU 2017. This time I had shifts on both days, not just the one, and I ended up first in Translation Devices (they had interpreters for the event) and the second day I was Door guard in different areas.
I find that I enjoy watching the energy of the attendees as they move from talk to talk. I love helping out at these events and even though I don’t get to see many of the talks, volunteering makes me happy.
What’s next? Hopefully WCUS 2017 in Nashville!